DUI checkpoints are becoming more common, especially around holidays such as Labor Day, New Year’s Eve and St. Patrick’s Day. Thus it is important that drivers understand their rights in the event that they encounter one of these roadblocks.
It is always important to keep in mind that police do not have the right to check your driver’s license or registration when a violation has not occurred. However, if they have a reasonable suspicion that you are driving under the influence, they may request to see your driver’s license and registration—even if a legal violation did not occur. An officer may become suspicious of you if you act in a way that is uncooperative or disruptive to their process.
If you reach a DUI checkpoint, you have the right to provide officers with an assertion of your rights. This is a document which states, among other things, that:
- you refuse to speak with the officer until consulting with your attorney
- you refuse consent for any search of your vehicle or property
- you are exercising your Constitutional rights
- you refuse to participate in questioning without an attorney present
- you wish to leave the checkpoint if you are not under arrest, and you wish to be advised of your arrest status immediately
Click here to download an assertion of rights document that can be used at DUI checkpoints.
If you are pulled over during a DUI checkpoint, you are not required to answer any questions. Politely responding, “I would like to speak with a Maryland attorney before I answer any questions,” is always appropriate. If you do answer potentially incriminating questions, you may provide police with evidence of your intoxication, or reason to place you under arrest.
An officer at a DUI checkpoint may request that you take a field sobriety test. In this situation, understand that you always have the right to refuse. However, individuals who refuse a test will often be placed under arrest. On many occasions, an officer may have already decided whether or not to arrest the driver regardless of whether they submit to a field sobriety test.
If you are placed under arrest at a Maryland DUI checkpoint, do not speak with any officers or answer any questions until you have an experienced DUI attorney present. An attorney can advise you on your rights, the potential consequences of your charge and how to approach the legal proceedings following your arrest. Contact the Baltimore DUI attorneys at The Law Offices of Eldridge and Nachtman for more information about DUI checkpoints, or to schedule a consultation for your individual case.